Many people find that the voice is one of the hardest instruments for a person to master- but it is also the most rewarding. In fact, most professional singers can tell you- there’s nothing quite like being able to use your voice to captivate an entire audience.
However, many people ask what exactly it takes to master the art of singing. First of all, you must be dedicated to the process and get plenty of practice.
On the other hand, you don’t want to practice just to practice. When you are practicing with the wrong techniques, you may improve slightly- but you are not going to make the progress you would if you were employing the right techniques. Following are 10 vocal tips that will make sure you are successful.
How Your Voice Works – Tips for Training Yourself to Sing
The very first thing you must do- before you start any vocal training program- is to make sure you have an understanding of how your voice actually works.
After all, you can’t master an art/craft unless you have an understanding of the tools you use. As a singer, your primary tool is going to be your voice, and basically your entire body.
Speech/Singing occur when your breath passes over your vocal cords as you exhale. The process of exhalation causes your vocal cords to vibrate, creating tone.
Singers can change their pitch and tone by learning how to shape/mold the vocal cords. You may want to think of your vocal cords as strings of a guitar.
The thicker strings on a guitar play low notes and the thinner ones play high notes. As a vocalist, you will stretch and shape your vocal cords to create the sounds you need to for singing.
Sing Like You Are Talking
One of the biggest mistakes that singers make when they are just starting out is to force their voices to sound like someone else’s. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with trying to be like those you admire, it’s also critical to remember that the most natural tone for your singing voice is the voice that you speak in.
When you attempt to make your singing voice sound different, you are straining your vocal cords and inhibiting their full range to create the tone you want. This can cause several issues in range in pitch.
When you’re just starting out, it’s important to start with your natural voice and then gradually increase your range and pitch. Once you have mastered singing close to your speaking voice, start adding some tonal changes to maintain control of increasing your range.
Begin Training with a Warm-Up
A good vocal training session will begin with a warm-up. It’s a good idea to imagine your vocal cords as rubber strips that need to instantly change shape as the air flows over them to produce specific sounds.
In order for rubber to mold, it must be supple and warm. Your voice is not any different. Just like any other muscle in your body, you must warm it up before it can achieve full range of movement. A good rule of thumb is to warm up for 30 mins before practicing and 40 minutes before a performance.
Work On Proper Cord Closure
If your singing tends to be breathy or your voice cracks on certain notes, chances are that you don’t have proper cord closure. If your vocal cords are not properly closed while you sing, the air will pass over them- which results in a breathy tone.
In order to practice cord closure, start with a low sounding “ooo” and slide up the highest comfortable note. You will see how much fuller and more consistent your tone will sound.
Sing with Vowels
When we sing, the functioning of our vocal cords differs from one note to another as well as from one sound to another. After you warm up, a great way to begin your training session is to practice singing each of the vowels independently and then sequentially.
Vowel sounds are the building blocks of singing, you will use them later on to form words and then songs. Building vowel sounds into your muscle memory when you practice will ensure that you can naturally hit them on stage.
Be Consistent & Patient
In order for vocal training to be effective, it must be consistent. Your voice is one of the quickest deteriorating muscles in your body.
In fact, many singers will lose months of progress by being lazy and avoiding practice for just a couple of weeks. So, while its critical to practice the proper techniques, it’s also critical to practice consistently.
Vocal training is going to take time and consistency will make sure that you maintain your progress (and make further progress).
Finally, few people are born with a “world-class” singing voice. Some people may have a head start when it comes to genetics, but the best voices have been developed and polished with vocal training.
Keep in mind that becoming a great singer is going to take some time, so make sure that you are prepared to put in the time and energy you need to. If you’re not patient, you may injure your voice- and even lose it.